‘The Great White Silence’ and other chilly cinematic delights…

SNOW! You are probably sick of hearing about the stuff by now, but that has never stopped us Filmspotters from pulling on our wellies, hats and gloves… although in reality, this weather does just make us yearn for blankets and a good, cosy film to watch.

By coincidence, though, we are pleased to announce that our first Filmspot screening for 2013 will be the very appropriate ‘Great White Silence’ [1924], at Salisbury Museum on Saturday 9th March at 2.30pm

Newly restored by the BFI and a winner of awards, The Great White Silence is a deeply moving account of Scott’s sea journey south from New Zealand and, once his team reaches Antarctica, their preparations for the long walk.

Scott chose to take Salisbury-born Herbert Ponting to record the journey. Thanks to Ponting’s superb eye, a century later we have an astonishing visual account of his tragic quest. After Scott’s death Ponting began a lecture tour which he eventually built into a silent film (now with a new haunting score performed by the contemporary string ensemble, The Elysian Quartet) with intertitles, as well as his own stills, maps, portraits and paintings, to create a narrative of the terrible events. He even filmed some novel sequences using models and stop-motion photography to show the various journeys of the polar teams. The final film was tinted and toned to express lighting effects. Although he did not travel beyond the final base camp, Ponting had the foresight to film Scott, Edward Wilson, ‘Taff’ Evans and Henry Bowers (interestingly, the same men, with Lawrence Oates, were to form the – as yet unselected – polar team) manhauling the sledge and cooking and sleeping in their tent, just as they were to do for real on the way to and from the Pole. It really is a compelling and beautiful film. Here is the trailer, to whet your appetite.

Please contact Salisbury Museum to book your tickets (£6 for members; £8 for non-members) on 01722 332151. The Museum has a webpage about the event here

For those Filmspotters in the East Sussex area, we will be running a screening of ‘The Great White Silence’ at Newhaven Fort in June, and will announce final details in the coming weeks.

Inspired by Captain Scott and our upcoming visit to Salisbury, as well as the ‘winter wonderland’, which is now rapidly melting outside, we have been thinking about some of our favourite films featuring snow. So, without further ado, here you are:

1. Fargo [1996]

Joel and Ethan Coen‘s quirky crime comedy uses its snow bound ‘Minnesota nice’ setting to great effect – and particularly revel in the contract of white and red, and ‘niceness’ and ‘nastiness’. The film boasts a fantastic cast, featuring many of the Coen’s regular collaborators, including Frances McDormand, William H Macy and Steve Buscemi – and of course the unforgettably sing-song accents: ‘Yah, you betcha!’

2. The Gold Rush [1925]

This wonderful silent comedy is the film that Chaplin himself said he wanted to be remembered for – and indeed, this film features many of Chaplin’s most memorable scenes, including he often parodied ‘bread roll dance’. The film follows the exploits of The Tramp as he travels to take part in the Klondike gold rush.

3. Touching The Void [2003]

Kevin McDonald’s gripping documentary follows the story of Joe Simpson and Simon Yates, who successfully climbed to the summit of previously unclimbed Siula Grande in Peru. After a disastrous accident, leaving his partner hanging by a rope over a cliff, Yates, who felt sure Simpson was dead, cut the rope. Consisting of re-enactment footage, together with interviews with the mountaineers.

4. Ikiru [1952]

Admittedly the trailer above doesn’t exactly scream SNOW at you, but snow features in the most pivotal scene of this wonderful, moving film. In this humble Filmspotter’s opinion, this is Akira Kurosawa’s best film, with a touching performance by the underrated Takashi Shimura. The story follows a middle-aged bureaucrat who, on learning he has less than a year to live, attempts to come to terms with his impending death and sets about discovering the secret to happiness.

5. Bambi

I know that this, like Ikiru, isn’t entirely focussed on snow, but the clip above of Bambi on ice is the Disney studio demonstrating why they were at the top of the animation tree for so long.

Hope to see some of you in Salisbury in March – keep cosy!


Willy Wonka & other bizarre cinematic feasts


We are gearing up for our next big screening of the summer: Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, at Newhaven Fort, at 2pm on Sunday 26th August. It’s going to be a rather special event, so we hope to see you all there!

Adam Prior, Team Filmspot’s star prop-maker, has been working his socks off making over-sized lollipops, and we will be transforming parts of Newhaven Fort into a ‘candy wonderland’. Talented animation student, Martyna Dawidoska, is creating special projections, which will be located in some of the underground tunnels at the Fort, based on the colourful musical. There will also be Wonka-themed ‘snack packs’ are included in the ticket price.

Tickets cost £6 for adults, £4 for children, and include entry to the Fort Museum. Advance booking is strongly recommended. Telephone Newhaven Fort for tickets: 01273 517622.

Inspired by the upcoming screening, we have been thinking about  some of the most bizarre and unlikely food moments on film, here are a few of our favourites:

God of Cookery [1996]

We are fans of Stephen Chow‘s idiotic humour here at Team Filmspot, and here is one of Chow’s ridiculously silly dishes from ‘God of Cookery’.

Modern Times [1936]

Chaplin often involved food in his films, and in modern times, he combines this fascination with his critique of the machine age, and creates this hilarious, but worrying force-feeding contraption.


Werner Herzog Eats his Shoe [1980]

A short documentary by Les Blank ‘Werner Herzog Eats his Shoe’ depicts Herzog fulfilling his promise that if director Errol Morris completed his documentary ‘Gate of Heaven’, he would eat his own shoe. The shoes were cooked slowly, for five hours, stuffed with garlic, chilli sauce and herbs – and Herzog ate them just prior to the premiere of ‘Gates of Heaven‘…


Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoise [1972]

Probably the most frustrating series of dinner parties ever committed to film, ‘Discreet Charm of the Bourgoeoise’ depicts a group of well-to-do sophisticates trying, and failing, to sit down to a meal together. This sharp, surreal comedy is one of Luis Brunel’s most accessible films, it is like a complex web of dreams.


Harry Potter series [2001-11]

I thought I’d finish with something a bit more appetising! Leaping chocolate frogs, Bertie Bott‘s Every Flavour Jelly Beans and (who could possibly forget?!) butterbeer. The Potter series is so universally popular because it combines nostalgia with the impossible!
We couldn’t find a suitable sweetie-related clip for you, but thought that this recipe of butterbeer is well worth a try!


If you have any surreal or unlikely food related clips, let us know!
Can’t wait to see you all on 26th August!







Hello Filmspotters!

Welcome to our all-new Filmspot blog. I’ll be posting up plans for events, as well as news/ archives trailers/ features that could be of interest to fellow ‘Filmspotters’. To start us off, here is the story so far:

In October 2009, we ran our pilot event at Newhaven Fort, with a showing of Frankenstein (1931) for children (and the young at heart).

In the evening, we notched up the spook-factor with Guillermo Del Toro’s atmospheric The Devil’s Backbone (2001) – and were joined by some rather sinister characters (a rather sinister Victorian urchin, pushing a miniature ‘Rosemary’s Baby’-eque pram, an unpredictable zombie-beast and a ghostly trumpeter!)

We followed this up with our second event at Newhaven Fort, in July 2010, showing The Great Dictator, with our very own Chaplin (supplied by David Girt)

Also in July, we forged links in Brighton with the CMP Festival, helping to facilitate a screening of Barbara Myers and Paul Loman’s The Making of George at St Nick’s Church.

For Hallowe’en 2010, we put on an ‘indoor drive-in’, again at Newhaven Fort, with the ever-popular Rocky Horror Picture Show

We’re currently finalising plans for a busy Spring/ Summer season – and will be posting more details as soon as these events are confirmed. It’s all looking very exciting, so be sure to check back soon!